This is it! The start of the Premier League season and the first competitive match preview on Arsenal for the season ahead. Filled with an analysis, opinion and the full expectations, we will look at tomorrow’s game and think about what to expect from The Villans.
Aston Villa have always been a good side. In recent years less so after they saw a massive drop in form. This was probably down to the loss of Martin O’Neil, whilst not forgetting they also had a team full of fantastic players, in their prime of Ashley Young, Brad Friedel, Gareth Barry, James Milner and Stewart Downing. Now whilst trying not to laugh at some of those names being linked with the words ‘fantastic players’, we must recognise that in their Villa playing days they brought up a force in their team that in fact was challenging amongst the big clubs for a top four spot. I believe they ended up coming 5th that year, but ever since it’s just been downhill for our opponents.
But like I said, they are still a good side and with players like Christian Benteke amongst their ranks as well as some of the talented youngsters, they will be no pushovers for this Arsenal side. Both clubs have players on the injury list, but it’s Arsenal that, as always, have the longer list. Villa will be without N’zogbia and Herd. Both of these players were regulars for Lambert’s side last year and so they will desperately miss Herd in this game, but not as much as how desperate we will be over the fitness of some of our players.
Walcott and Wilshere seem to have overcome their injury concerns however Ramsey, Sagna and Cazorla all face late fitness tests, while the trio of Arteta, Monreal and Vermaelen are all ruled out for the long run. It means we are already several key players down and the opening game hasn’t even kicked off yet.
In terms of Arsenal’s line up, I expected as follows:
Jenkinson Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Walcott Giroud OX
With Sagna and Cazorla picking up their fitness issues on international duty, they were only sustained a matter of days ago meaning, even if they are fit enough to play, I think Wenger will keep them on the bench to start with. As for Ramsey, I really hope he can pull through with his injury concern because otherwise I hate to think who we will play there. Maybe the OX will take up a CM spot but it’s a difficult scenario.
Overall I wouldn’t say this is going to be a comfortable game. There will be mixed views and emotions flying around as Arsenal fans voice their frustration but also support with spirits high for the love of seeing their team play again. A tough game and one I think will be harder than most expect, especially with us being so thin on the ground but overall I’m going to go 2-0 TO THE ARSENAL!